Eminem had the top-selling album of 2010
New York Times photo
 
Album sales fell in 2010. Again. Sales were down 12.7 percent from 2009, according to figures released by Nielsen SoundScan.
Buoyed by Eminem’s “Recovery” topping the charts with 3.4 million sold, rap was the only genre that showed an increase – a mere 3 percent. Country was relatively strong – the only genre not to show a double digit decline, with a 5 percent fall. By comparison, alternative rock, classical, jazz, Latin and New Age all dipped by more than 20 percent.
On the bright side, vinyl album sales were up 14 percent and digital album sales climbed 13 percent.
Also noteworthy:
*        Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” was tops with 4.4 million digital downloads.
 
*        Only 13 albums sold more than 1 million copies. Titles were by Taylor Swift, Eminem, Lady Antebellum, Justin Bieber, Susan Boyle, Lady Gaga, Drake, Ke$ha and Sade, among others.
 
*        For the second time in three years, Taylor Swift was the biggest selling artist of the year, with 4.4 million albums. The Glee cast finished fifth in 2010, with 3.6 million albums sold.
 
*        33 percent of all albums were purchased at a mass merchant (Walmart, Target, etc.); 26 percent via a digital service (iTunes, eMusic, etc.), and 8 percent at independent music stores.